Today is the official publication day for Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction edited by Carrie Ryan … and it includes a short story written by me, "One True Love"! This is the first time a short story by me has been published in a hardcover anthology, and I'm so thrilled to be published alongside authors such as Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and Diana Peterfreund (just a few of my faves). When Carrie Ryan (who wrote the creeptastic zombie novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth and its sequels!) asked me if I'd be interested in writing a story that included a prophecy, I was immediately intrigued by the possibilities. Several fairy tales are set in motion by a prophecy or prediction, and I really wanted to write another fairy tale retelling, which I hadn't done since Ash. The first fairy tale that came to mind was "Sleeping Beauty."
You might remember that at the beginning of "Sleeping Beauty," an evil fairy crashes the christening of a princess and predicts that on her sixteenth birthday, the girl shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. I didn't think I really wanted to retell "Sleeping Beauty" because … well, the girl is asleep for most of the story, and I wanted her to do something.
The next fairy tale that I considered was "Snow White." (I know, the princess is unconscious in this story too, but wait!) Several of the pre-Disneyfied versions of "Snow White" are pretty darn creepy, but those weren't what drew me to "Snow White." I kept returning to the idea of the beautiful queen gazing into the mirror, which told her, "You are the fairest of them all." That's not exactly a prophecy, but it had the same kind of weighted feel.
The most interesting thing about "Snow White," to me, was that it was about a stepmother being somewhat unhealthily obsessed with her stepdaughter. Of course, her obsession was evil; she was filled with jealousy. But I started thinking: What if she was obsessed with her in a different way? What if the stepmother fell in love with the stepdaughter?
From that moment, the story I wanted to tell began to take off. It very quickly left "Snow White" behind. (It left "Sleeping Beauty" behind too, although my story does begin during a baby's naming ceremony in which a prophecy is delivered, so that's sort of similar.)
My goal with "One True Love" was to tell a fairy tale. There are no actual fairies in it, but I think it has a fairy tale feel. I wrote it in the style of Ash, or at least closer to Ash than anything I've written since. The experience of writing it felt a little like putting on a very comfortable pair of old but still extremely kick ass boots.
And just because I could, I added in a lady in armor.
"One True Love" is one of my favorite things I've ever written. I really, really enjoyed writing it, and I hope that you will enjoy it too!
To celebrate the publication of Foretold, I'm giving away one hardcover of the anthology, and I'll autograph "One True Love" for the winner (if they wish!). The giveaway is open internationally, and the deadline is Sept. 3 (Labor Day in the USA). Good luck!